from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aliso was a Roman fort in Germania magna at the time of the Varus Battle (approx. 9 AD). Its location is still unknown, but it has long been suspected in the Roman camp of Haltern .

Roman historiography

For the time of the Varus Battle, when the Germans defeated the Romans, the Roman historians only mention one military camp by name. Aliso must have been east of the Rhine and north of the Main in the Germanic area that was not yet completely dominated by the Romans.

There are a number of passages in the Roman historians Tacitus , Cassius Dio , Velleius Paterculus and Frontinus that mention the name Aliso and Elison, respectively . In connection with the Elison , Cassius Dio, as the most accurate portrayal of the Varus Battle, uses the name Lupias (possibly the lip ) as the name for a river into which another river called Elison (possibly the Seseke ) flows. Ptolemy also mentions in his Geography a Aleisos (also Aleison , Ἀλεισός, Ἀλεισόν ) with its geographical coordinates.

Find Aliso

In the absence of clear archaeological evidence, a discussion is held among the experts about the true location of the fort. In most cases, the place names known from the literature are related to locally existing ones that can be etymologically traced back to them or just sound similar to them, and the claim that Aliso was located at this point is derived from this.

Although the credibility of some of the details may be controversial, Aliso appears to have been successfully defended by the Romans. The reports of ancient historians have started a search for this fort up to the present day, which so far has not led to any clear results despite all historical and archaeological efforts. In 2010 the Antiquities Commission for Westphalia announced to the Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe that there were indications that the Roman camp Haltern is to be equated with the Aliso described. Some archaeological evidence, such as the remains of defensive weapons and a mass grave, would support this assumption.

There is an Alisostrasse in Paderborn and Bergkamen-Oberaden, and the Alisowall in Haltern am See.

Individual text passages

Aliso is mentioned directly in the following passages:

  • Cassius Dio 54,33,4
  • Velleius Paterculus 2,120,4
  • Tacitus, annales 2.7

Cassius Dio reports on the foundation of a fortress ( φρύριόν τί σφισιν ) in 11 BC. After the battle of Arbalo (on the way back from the Weser):

So they were defeated and then were no longer so bold, but continued to molest his troops slightly from a distance without coming any closer. Drusus, for his part, now felt superior and built a fortress where the Lupias ( Λουπίας ) and the Elison ( ᾿Ελίσων ) mix and another in the land of chats near the Rhine itself.

In archeology today, however, it is assumed in the description of Cassius Dio that the term Elison (possibly meant as - today not known - river) does not refer to the camp Aliso. In the search for a camp on the river Lippe (Lupia), the Roman camp Oberaden was discovered, which is now safely assumed that Cassius Dio described this in his text. Not far from the Roman camp Oberaden on the Lippe is the Roman camp Beckinghausen near Lünen .

Velleius Paterculus reported on the camp (castra) Aliso after the Varus Battle:

The proficiency of the camp commandant L. Caedicius and those who, enclosed with him in Aliso, were besieged by huge masses of Teutons , also deserved recognition : overcoming all difficulties that made the lack of food intolerable and the onslaught of the enemy insurmountable They neither made hasty decisions nor contented themselves with inactive caution: they waited for the appropriate moment, then with the sword they made their way back to theirs.

With regard to the year 16, Tacitus wrote about a Lippe fort and the Aliso fort (Tacitus 2,7):

“While the ships were being pulled together, the Caesar had the legate Silius make an incursion into the Chattenland with a lightly armed troop; he himself led six legions to the news that a fort on the Lippe was being besieged. But because of sudden downpours, Silius could not do anything else than take a little booty and kidnap the Chatto prince Arpus' wife and daughter, nor did the besiegers give Caesar the opportunity to fight, since they had dispersed on the news of his approach. However, they had destroyed the burial mound recently built for the legions of Varus and an old altar built for Drusus. Germanicus restored the altar and led a solemn parade in honor of the father personally at the head of the legions; Renewing the burial mound did not seem expedient. Finally, the whole area between the Aliso fort and the Rhine was opened up and secured by new military roads and dams. "

The following text passages are also at least associated with "Aliso":

  • Cassius Dio 56,22,2a-3
  • Frontinus 2,9,4; 3,15,4; 4.7.8
  • Ptolemy 2:11:14

Cassius Dio reported about the time immediately after the Varus Battle:

“And the barbarians stormed all the forts except one; but this kept them so long that they neither crossed the Rhine nor invaded Gaul. Rather, they could not even bring this into their power, as they did not understand the siege and, moreover, the Romans had numerous archers, by whom they were pushed back with very heavy losses. When they received the news that the Romans were keeping watch on the Rhine and that Tiberius was on the march with a strong army, most of them left the fort; Those who stayed behind moved away from him, so as not to be harmed by sudden failures of the crew, and kept a keen eye on the approach routes in the hope that food shortages would force the surrender. The Roman occupation, however, held out as long as they had enough provisions and hoped for relief. But when no one came to their aid and they were tormented by hunger, they waited a stormy night and left. There were few soldiers, many without weapons. And ...... they also passed their first and second guard posts; but as they approached the third, they were noticed because the women and children kept calling the men back out of exhaustion and fear and because of the darkness and cold. And they would all have perished or been taken prisoner if the barbarians hadn't lingered too much in snatching up the prey. Because in this way the strongest gained a great advantage, and by the trumpeters who were with them blew the usual signal during a fast march, they made the enemy believe that they were sent by Asprenas . So they abandoned the pursuit, and when Asprenas heard of the incident, he actually came to their aid. "

Sextus Iulius Frontinus wrote:

2,9,4: “The Teutonic Duke Arminius had the heads of those he killed impaled in a similar way (like Lucius Sulla) and brought them up to the wall of the enemy camp. [...]
3,15,4: When the survivors were besieged after the defeat of the Varus, because it seemed that they were short of grain, they led some prisoners around in the stacks for a whole night, then cut off their hands and released them. These persuaded the besiegers not to base their hopes of a quick conquest on a famine of the Romans, since they had an enormous supply of food at their disposal. [...]
4,7,8: When the primipilar Caedicus, who had taken over the leadership of the enclosed Romans in Germania after the defeat of Varus, feared that the barbarians would put the wood they had collected on the wall and set fire to his camp he, as if he had a shortage of wood, and sent people everywhere to steal it secretly, and thereby achieved that the Teutons got rid of all the tree trunks. "


Individual evidence

  1. Archaeological evidence confirms: Haltern was probably the ancient Aliso press release from August 12, 2010
  2. Is Haltern the famous Aliso? at: LWL-Römermuseum Haltern am See .
  3. The Aliso camp. In: Clades Variana. Albert Bömer, accessed August 18, 2016 .